Title 49


241.7 Waivers.

§ 241.7 Waivers.

(a) General. (1) A person subject to a requirement of this part may petition the Administrator for a waiver of compliance with such requirement. Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, the filing of such a petition does not affect that person's responsibility for compliance with that requirement while the petition is being considered.

(2) (i) Each petition for waiver under this section shall be filed in the manner and contain the information required by part 211 of this chapter.

(ii) Petitions seeking approval to conduct fringe border operations shall also comply with the requirements of paragraph (c) of this section.

(iii) Petitioners not filing under paragraph (c) of this section should review the guidelines at 66 FR 63942 (Dec. 11, 2001), and frame their petitions to address the safety and security concerns articulated in the preamble, or contact the Office of the Chief Counsel, RCC-12, FRA, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Stop 10, Washington, DC 20590, for a copy of the guidelines.

(3) If the Administrator finds that a waiver of compliance is in the public interest and is consistent with railroad safety, the Administrator may grant the waiver subject to any conditions that the Administrator deems necessary.

(b) Special dispensation for existing extraterritorial dispatching. (1) A railroad that files a waiver request seeking to continue extraterritorial dispatch of an operation that it has dispatched from Canada or Mexico pursuant to regulations contained in 49 CFR part 241, revised as of October 1, 2002, may continue extraterritorial dispatching of that operation until the railroad's waiver request is acted upon by FRA if the petition is filed no later than April 11, 2003.

(2) If the waiver request is for an operation not listed in appendix A to this part, the waiver request must describe when the extraterritorial dispatching of the operation commenced and how the dispatching was authorized by regulations contained in 49 CFR part 241, revised as of October 1, 2002. FRA will notify the railroad if FRA determines that the operation was not permitted by the terms of those regulations.

(c) Fringe border dispatching. (1) A waiver request to have a railroad employee located in Canada or in Mexico dispatch a railroad operation in the United States immediately adjacent to the border of the country in which the dispatcher conducts the dispatching will generally be approved by FRA, subject to any conditions imposed by FRA, if the waiver request meets all of the terms of paragraphs (c)(2) and (3) of this section. A proponent of a waiver request may seek relief from the terms of paragraphs (c)(2) and (3) of this section.

(2) The railroad proposing to conduct the fringe border dispatching shall supply the following documents as part of the waiver request:

(i) A description, by railroad division, applicable subdivision(s), and mileposts, of the line proposed to be dispatched;

(ii) A copy of the operating rules of the railroad that would apply to the proposed fringe border dispatching, including hours of service limitations, and the railroad's program for testing the dispatchers in accordance with these operating rules and for ensuring that the dispatchers do not work in excess of the hours of service restrictions;

(iii) A copy of the railroad's drug and alcohol abuse prevention program that applies to the fringe border dispatchers. The program shall, to the extent permitted by the laws of the country where the dispatching occurs, contain the following:

(A) Preemployment drug testing;

(B) A general prohibition on possession and use of alcohol and drugs while on duty;

(C) Reasonable cause alcohol and drug testing;

(D) A policy dealing with co-worker and self-reporting of alcohol and drug abuse problems;

(E) Post-accident testing; and

(F) Random drug testing;

(iv) The steps the railroad has taken to ensure the security of the dispatch center where the fringe border dispatching will take place;

(v) The railroad's plans for complying with the requirements of paragraph (c)(3) of this section; and

(vi) A verification from a government agency in the country where the dispatching will occur that the agency has safety jurisdiction over the railroad and the proposed dispatching, and that the railroad's safety programs referenced in paragraphs (c)(2)(ii) and (iii) of this section meet the safety requirements established by the agency or, in the absence of established safety requirements, that the programs are satisfactory to the agency.

(3) Except as otherwise approved by FRA, fringe border dispatching must comply with the following requirements:

(i) The trackage in the United States being extraterritorially dispatched shall not exceed the following route miles, measured from the point that the trackage crosses the United States border:

(A) For operations conducted pursuant to the regulations contained in 49 CFR part 241, revised as of October 1, 2002, the route miles shall be the miles normally operated by the railroad in conducting the operation; and

(B) For all other operations, the route miles shall not exceed five miles.

(ii) Except for unforeseen circumstances such as equipment failure, accident, casualty, or incapacitation of a crew member, each extraterritorially dispatched train shall be under the control of the same assigned crew for the entire trip over the extraterritorially dispatched trackage.

(iii) The fringe border dispatcher shall communicate instructions to the train crew and maintenance of way employees working on the line in the English language and, when referencing units of measurement, shall use English units of measurement.

(iv) The rail line shall be under the exclusive control of a single dispatching district or desk; and

(v) The dispatching of the train shall be transferred from the fringe border dispatcher to a dispatcher located in the United States at one of the following locations within the mileage limits mandated in paragraph (c)(3)(i) of this section:

(A) Interchange point;

(B) Signal control point;

(C) Junction of two rail lines;

(D) Established crew change point;

(E) Yard or yard limits location;

(F) Inspection point for U.S. Customs, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Department of Agriculture, or other governmental inspection; or

(G) Location where there is a change in the method of train operations.

[67 FR 75960, Dec. 10, 2002, as amended at 74 FR 25175, May 27, 2009]